German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Friday Germany was ready to help Georgia in its quest to join the European Union.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital, Tbilisi, she told reporters that more needed to be done to uphold democratic standards and ensure freedom of the press.
What did Germany's top diplomat say?
"I am in Georgia with a specific message: we want to see Georgia in the European Union," Baerbock said, alongside her Georgian counterpart, Ilia Darchiashvili.
"The door to EU candidate status is wide open," she added.
Baerbock also praised Georgia, which neighbors Russia, for voting to back UN resolutions condemning Moscow's invasioon of Ukraine.
However, the German minister also underscored that it was "essential that this country implements reforms so that Georgia can join the EU."
"We will be supporting you along this path," she said.
The road to joining the EU
Last year, the EU deferred Georgia's membership application to join the bloc. It said at the time that Tbilisi must conduct reforms before it is put on a formal membership path. Candidacy status was, however, granted to Ukraine and Moldova.
Georgia's government withdrew a controversial law earlier this month that would have required organizations receiving foreign funding to register as foreign agents.
This followed mass anti-government demonstrations, with protesters accusing the government of deviating from the country's pro-Western course.
Baerbock said the government now had the task of "overcoming polarization, restoring confidence and decisively taking pending steps towards reform."
The EU is calling for Georgia to curb political polarization, reform the judicial system, establish an anti-corruption authority, boost media freedom and restrict the power of oligarchs.
The move to EU membership is enshrined in Georgia's constitution. It is also supported by at least 80% of the country's population, according to opinion polls, DW reports.
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